GURPS101: Deconstructing Damage Resistance

One of the more useful traits in GURPS is the ability to take less damage. But Damage Resistance is so much more. Modified in the right way it can create force fields, walls, prenaturally hard skin that looks normal, and much more.

So how does Damage Resistance break down?

Damage Resistance as Pieces Parts
So exactly what does this trait do and how does it do it?

  • Your flesh, skin, or whatever protects you against damage equal to its value. The value depends on the level and the final damage taken is subtracted before any injury multiplier is applied.
  • “Realistic” human beings cannot take this trait.
  • Most natural creatures can have a DR up to 5. DR 1 might represent thick skin or a fur pelts, while DR 5 might be a hide that’s thick and armored like a rhino’s.
  • There are no limits for robots, supers, supernatural beings, and so on.

Canon Damage Resistance Special Modifiers

There are many special modifiers for Damage Resistance. Also, “No Signature” may be added to make it impossible for others to know you have any innate DR.

  • Ablative (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage absorbs a number of damage and then must regenerate like HP.
  • Absorption (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 46-47): Your advantage allows you to soak up damage to heal you or enhance your abilities.
  • Bane (Limitation; GURPS Horror p. 46-47): Your advantage doesn’t work against certain types of attack.
  • Can’t Wear Armor (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage makes it so you can’t use armor.
  • Doesn’t Stack With Armor (Limitation; GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians, p. 47): Your advantage makes it so you can’t use armor and gain its benefits.
  • Directional (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage only applies from a specific front.
  • Flexible (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage makes you vulnerable to blunt trauma.
  • Force Field (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage protects your eyes and any worn items – including your gear.
  • Hardened (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage is resistant to Armor Divisors.
  • Limited (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage works only against a specific type of damage.
  • Malediction-Proof (Enhancement; GURPS Psionic Powers, p. 14): Your advantage protects against malediction-type attacks that ignore DR.
  • Partial (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage only protects a specific body part.
  • Reflection (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage turns the damage dealt back on the attacker.
  • Semi-Ablative (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage is eroded by damage over time.
  • Tough Skin (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 47): Your advantage turns DR into ordinary skin making you vulnerable to attacks that require skin to skin contact. Includes the effects of flexible.

New Modifier for Damage Resistance
A new modifier I’ve posted on the forums or use in my own game:

  • Chargable: Your DR can temporarily be increased by spending 1 FP and making a HT roll. Note your margin of success, this is the amount your DR increases for the next 10 seconds up to your original DR or +10 DR, whichever is better. (+350%)
  • Includes Eyes: Your DR includes your eyes. You do not need this is if you also have the Force Field enhancement. (+10%).

Example Build: Personal Force Field
A protective field that surrounds you.

Personal Force Field: Damage Resistance 6 (Force Field, +20%; PM, -10%) [33]. Your field protects you and your gear with a DR of 6 – enough to stop most muscled-powered weaponry and most modern handguns.

Powering It Up:

  • For every 11 points you put into the ability, you increase your DR by 2 making your more and more resistant to attacks.

 

Picking Over the Bones
Damage Resistance is something that is universally applicable to just about any game one runs in GURPS. Of course, there are some games where this won’t be true, but even then it can be used to simulate some of the more realistic traits – e.g., “Damage Resistance (Limited, Sunburn, -80%) [1]” for desert dwellers or those with training in such harsh environments. In the end, being able ot understand and manipulate Damage Resistance will allow you to emulate fictional traits and powers from all across pop culture and that’s a huge plus for the GURPS GM.
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